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Admiralty Hydro-Ballistic Research Establishment

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of Glen Fruin, Dumbartonshire

WWII Two experimental facilities were set up to investigate the problems of air-launched weapons - one was at Coulport, set up by the Admiralty to test the water entry of torpedoes; another at nearby Glen Fruin had been established by the Air Ministry to deal with air-dropped munitions and to explore solutions for amphibious aircraft landing on water.[1]

Coulport was operated as an outstation of the Torpedo Experimental Establishment, Gourock. Full scale torpedoes were launched into Loch Long. Coulport also hosted a mortar for air-launching mines into a recovery net on a cableway across the loch and test cells for propulsion systems using HTP (High Test Peroxide) a particularly unpleasant and explosive fuel.

The Glen Fruin facility supported the work of the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Rhu. A launcher had been installed that was very similar to the one at Coulport. Glen Fruin also housed an enormous water tank, one wall of which consisted of glazed panels to facilitate observation of projectiles passing through the water. High speed photography was used to capture the entry of the projectiles into the water.

1946-7 The Glen Fruin research station was transferred to the Admiralty[2]

1948 The Admiralty Hydro-Ballistic Research Establishment was formed by the amalgamation of these two WWII testing stations - Glen Fruin and Coulport - to investigate the effects of water on bombs and torpedoes dropped from the air. The range at Loch Goil was also incorporated in the establishment. The understandings developed at the Glen Fruin tank were compared with the full-scale tests undertaken at Coulport, giving rise to understanding of the reasons for the differences.

1951? Subsequently AHBRE was absorbed into the Admiralty Research Laboratory.

Later Glen Fruin was used for the development of techniques to allow crew to escape from aircraft that crashed in the sea in collaboration with the Institute of Naval Medicine and Martin Baker.

1957 The Coulport was reduced to "care and maintenance" status.

Today the testing tank building at Glen Fruin is a listed structure[3]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Historical Survey of Water Entry research at the Admiralty Research Laboratory
  2. National Archives [2]
  3. [3] Urban realm
  • [4] Forces War records
  • [5] Glen Fruin's little secret